Guitar Of The Month – May, 2020

Written by: Kevin Strom On: Jun 11th, 2020

Congratulations goes out to Rick Johnston for his guitar build, to earn him Guitar of the Month for May 2020.

Rick used our LPK-200 DIY kit as the basis to create his guitar.

“I got interested in this hobby based on a recent documentary called Carmen Street Guitars which aired on TV back in early January. This was about a custom guitar shop in New York and started me on the hunt for a birthday gift for my son.  After much research on the internet, I decided to try and build one myself which led me to Solo Guitars.  With their expertise and assistance, I was able to complete my first build and present this custom LP 200 kit to my son on his birthday in May. The challenge was to build and finish this while my son was working from home due to the Covid-19 crisis so I ended up building this in a 5 x 7 closet away from prying eyes and ears.

After receiving the kit, the first thing I did was check the fit of all the parts which were good.  I then took the neck to a local trophy shop and had it laser engraved with my son’s name to customize it slightly. I sanded the entire guitar body from 320 grit to 800 grit but was very careful on the top to make sure I didn’t sand through as per the instructions.  Once I wood filled the back of the body and neck, I was ready for the finishing process.

I used CrystaLac products throughout the finishing process which for the most part went well despite having to mix several samples to get the correct colour.  For the back of the body I used Brown, Yellow & Black mixed with clear gel stain.  For the front of the body I used the same products but used a mixture of Yellow, Red, Brown & Black to arrive at a colour I was happy with. After a light sanding with 800 grit I sealed entire guitar with 3 coats then lightly sanded with 800 and 1000 grit.

Finally, I applied 10 coats of Brite-Tone finish followed by level wet sanding with 800 to 1500 grit paper. To finish I used a light rubbing compound and wax to buff by hand to a gloss finish. I used a swirl remover to finish entire surface.  I leveled and did all the fret work on the neck before final assembly.

I cannot stress enough the extra steps of buying sample pieces of wood that best match the guitar species and testing colour, sanding and finishing techniques to get the right finish before applying to your guitar kit.  I upgraded the tuners to the Solo Locking machine heads, strings and Hosco Wiring Kit (wiring, pots, switch) which went well and was reasonably priced.

All in all, I was quite pleased as was my son with the final outcome and I intend on buying another kit soon. Thanks again to Padraig and all the support from Solo.”

– Rick Johnston

4 Responses to “Guitar Of The Month – May, 2020”

  1. edskarsen says:

    Pretty sweet looking job, your son had to be extremely pleased.

  2. Rick Johnston says:

    Thanks and yes he was.

  3. Florent Destors says:

    Nice job!
    Quick question about the CTS pots you’ve upgraded. Did you have to drill through original holes? I’ve heard cts uses US size while Europe and Asia use metric system and defaults holes on the my KIT (LPK200) seem to be too small for CTS pots.

  4. Ben Aw-Yeong says:

    Florent, you’re right – the predrilled holes are metric spec. I used Bournes pots on my LPK200 and I needed to enlarge the holes; the same will hold for CTS/any US spec pots

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